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Hip-Hop’s Influence on Fashion

Since the emergence of hip-hop in the 1970s, fashion has taken a different trend with youths in every part of the world embracing it.  From designer clothing to expensive jewelry and custom footwear, hip-hop has totally been a big influence. It’s not new to see teenagers wanting to look like some of their favorite artists who put on these elegant attires.

Going back to how it all started in the Bronx New York, it was the difficult living conditions people faced which started as a protest which led to the birth of Hip-Hop. While it evolved as a music genre, so did its role in passing the people’s message.

One of the elements that defined its culture and influence in fashion was breakdancing which led to people wearing a lot of sportswear clothing in those communities. As time went on, the major sports clothing brands like Nike, Puma, FILA, and Adidas became part of the Hip-Hop lifestyle.

The irony was that, at first, many of the marketers and retailers didn’t see the potential that was gaining ground then, except for a few like Adidas.  They grabbed the opportunity that was available by establishing relationships with the artists, producers and DJs, which made them get huge returns.

When many of these artists began to experience wealth and fame, they found more expensive clothing brands more attractive. Clothing line giants like Tommy Hilfiger and Polo Ralph Lauren used this opportunity to market to minorities, making their clothes become an indication of financial success.  Of course, more Hip-Hop artists began wearing many other luxury brands like Gucci and Lois Vuitton, which symbolized the escape from harsh living conditions they were born into.

On the other hand, while the Hip-Hop community continued to thrive with these brands, others like Timberland and North Face noticed but decided not to act, as they felt that chasing after these urban communities would only cheapen their brands due to the adversities in those communities.

This, however, led to a new breakthrough.

Many of the top artists saw the potential in creating their own brand. Marketing wasn’t even a problem as they kept mentioning their brand names in their musical lyrics.  So, instead of promoting brands that showed no interest in them, they decided to go with their own clothing line.  This began the introduction of labels such as FUBU, Rocawear, Wu-Wear, and Phat Farm into the market, and they were all founded by Hip-Hop artists.  Sean “Puffy” Combs and Jay-Z were some of the pioneering artists who took the fashion world by storm.

With the pace at which Hip-Hop is moving along with fashion, it seems that there will be no slowing down anytime. Some musicians like Kanye West have continued to stress that they are more than just musicians, while pushing their own brand. Other musicians like Drake, Pharell Williams, and Tyler, and the Creator have proven to be top artists who are also riding on the fashion industry.

Hip-hop has gone beyond being a music genre – it’s a lifestyle with clothing being influenced by it.

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Hip-Hop Music Culture and its Influence in the US and Beyond

Hip-hop music has evolved over the years and can’t be really traced to a certain origin.  While some claim it started during the slave era, others link it a little further.  However, modern Hip-Hop dates back to the 1970s which was birthed as a brand of music which was political, real, and poetic.

Kool DJ Herc was seen to be the pioneer of this brand of music which was a voice to the people of Bronx and other parts of New York. The isolation and bad condition of these neighborhoods where stressed on back then. Hip-Hop gave a lot of Americans the opportunity to air out their feelings to the whole world.

After more than forty years, it has really gone a long way with its culture and message crossing the boundaries of the US, going around the world.  In a lot of African countries, Hip-Hop has found its way into different cultures, holding many of the youths together.

Forbes magazine states that it is an industry that has been able to generate over 10 billion dollars a year, since a lot of artists have been used as an opportunity for companies to advertise their products, reaching a large fan base.

Today, Hip-Hop has integrated itself into, not just the music industry alone, but also into movies, fashion, advertisement, and much more.  Rappers have even gone ahead to explore other areas in the industry as well.  Hip-Hop has gone beyond being a music genre – after so many up and downs – it’s a lifestyle!  While some have used it to propagate negativity such as violence, sex and drugs, others have used it for propagating positive messages like religion, family, and relationships, creating awareness of diseases, etc.

Hip-hop has various styles with the culture introduced in several other countries in Europe, Africa, and Asia. This has brought about a distinction in the type of Hip-Hop heard in places outside the US. For instance, the hip-hop in the US and the brand in Japan are very different.  It’s seen more as an art that has reflected in different perspectives in the US while the Japanese see it more as the way it’s presented with much expensive jewelry and automobiles with African-American performers in it.

Regardless of how it’s seen, Hip-Hop still remains accessible with many youths finding their way and benefiting from the culture. Today, there is a lot of cost-friendly software and hardware that can be used to create music which has enhanced more creativity.

The accessibility has also made it possible for more youth from different backgrounds to engage with a wider community which brought more integration over the years.  There have been a lot of short-term and long-term benefits that young people have gotten from the rising trend of the Hip-Hop culture.

Finally, with the urgency needed for tolerance, equity, and justice in the society we have today, it’s pertinent that we have a re-look at the Hip-Hop culture.  Despite not being perfect, it’s a culture that has brought a lot of awareness to the world with its divergent messages, and should be seen as one of the most important movements.